|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS
TO BE OBSERVED AT HEADQUARTERS, 29 MAY
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers will be observed on Tuesday, 29 May. This marks the fourth year in a row the United Nations will honour more than 100 blue helmets who lost their lives the previous year while serving the cause of peace. This sombre milestone is a stark reminder of the risks incurred by individuals who put their lives on the line when they deploy to United Nations missions around the world.
Commemorative activities will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, as well as at United Nations peacekeeping operations and offices around the world.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The General Assembly designated 29 May as the Day, as it was the date in 1948 when the first United Nations peacekeeping Mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message for the Day that “116 Member States contribute military and police personnel to our operations. This impressive number reflects growing global confidence in the value of United Nations peacekeeping as a tool for collective security.”
The Secretary-General further said: “Our new observer Mission in Syria is the latest example that demonstrates how the international community looks to the United Nations for solutions to emerging challenges.”
The 112 peacekeepers — military, police and civilian — who lost their lives in 2011 while serving with the United Nations as a result of hostile acts, accidents and disease, will posthumously receive the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal at a ceremony on 29 May.
This year’s commemorative ceremonies come at a time when the services of United Nations peacekeepers continue to be in great demand. There are more than 84,000 military personnel, 14,000 police officers, 5,400 international civilian and 12,200 national staff serving in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents.
This year, the United Nations is highlighting that United Nations Peacekeeping is a vital and effective global partnership. In addition to its strong partnerships with Member States, flexible, creative partnerships with international and regional organizations are increasingly a feature of United Nations Peacekeeping, which helps establish a common vision and approach to security challenges, builds capacity and increases effectiveness and efficiency. A recent example includes the African Union in the work of the joint African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Furthermore, United Nations Peacekeeping works closely with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes on the ground to support vital humanitarian and development work. Working together to address threats to global security and to save lives they are a beacon of hope to millions of people around the world.
"UN Peacekeeping has evolved significantly beyond its traditional role of monitoring ceasefires. Today, we protect civilians, promote human rights, help countries build institutions, protect the rule of law and more. In these efforts, our partners are essential. They bring the added legitimacy, troops, police and other expertise, and the resources needed for the success of peacekeeping operations," said the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous.
To honour the fallen peacekeepers and those who continue to serve in the cause of peace, there will be several events held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 29 May.
9:15 a.m.: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will oversee a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in honour of all fallen peacekeepers in the United Nations Visitors Lobby. The ceremony is open to the public and the press.
11 a.m.: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations in 2011. The Medals for military and police personnel will be received by representatives of the respective Permanent Missions to be forwarded on to the next of kin. The ceremony will be held in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library and will be shown on UN Webcast (www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/index.html).
12 p.m.: Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, and Assistant Secretary-General and acting head of the Department of Field Support, Anthony Banbury, will be guests at the Spokesperson’s noon briefing.
2 p.m.: Under-Secretary-General Ladsous will award medals to the military and police officers currently serving in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at Headquarters in New York.
For further information, please contact Douglas Coffman, Department of Public Information, at tel.: +1 212 963 4481, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Josephine Guerrero, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, at tel.: +1 212 963 1964, e-mail: email@example.com; or visit the Peacekeepers Day website at www.un.org/en/events/peacekeepersday.
* *** *For information media • not an official record